House Investigates Niger Delta Amnesty Programmes

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ABUJA, February 08, (THEWILL) - The House of Representatives Wednesday mandated its joint committee on Niger Delta Development Commission [NDDC], Niger Delta Ministry and Public Safety and National Security to investigate the performance of all relevant bodies connected with the management of the Amnesty programme.

This is even as the House expressed concern over what it described as ‘the new phase of terrorist attacks and destruction of facilities’ by the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta [MEND] which wrecked havoc at Ogbobagbene in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.

The joint committee is empowered to invite all stakeholders with a view to fashioning out a comprehensive and integrated solution to the Niger Delta problem and report back to the House within two weeks.

This decision was taken following a motion titled “Urgent Need to address the new wave of attack and threats by the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta [MEND], sponsored by Hon. Ifeoluwa Arowosoge Abiose.

While leading debate on the motion, Abiose drew the attention of the House to another attack on a crude oil pipeline belonging to AGIP, an Italian oil multinational in Nigeria at Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa state on Saturday 4th February, 2012.

Abiose noted that the militia group whose activities had subsided for about a year now has warned that there would be several bomb attacks, aiming at shutting down Nigeria’s oil production to zero level and driving away all oil companies from the Niger Delta.

The lawmaker informed the Chamber that MEND has concluded plans to attack South African companies having investments in Nigeria, particularly MTN and Sac Oil due to the alleged interference of the South African President, Jacob Zuma in what they called legitimate fight for justice in the Niger Delta.

“Part of the positive steps taken by the government to address the Niger Delta problem was the entrenchment of the of 13 percent derivation to oil Producing States in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission [NDDC], establishment of Niger Delta Ministry as well as the granting of Amnesty to militants and the establishment of the Amnesty programme which made many Niger Delta Youths acquire skills and be gainfully employed,” he argued.

Abiose further expressed worry that the nation is still battling with the menace of the Boko Haram insurgency, adding that the Niger Delta militancy re-surfacing now will have unmitigated ripple effect on the economy.

“Making good their threat by attacking South African interests in Nigeria would, no doubt, weaken the good diplomatic and business relationship between the two leading African nations,” he warned.